American Theatre

American Theatre is a magazine containing news, features and opinions on American and international theatre. Published six times a year by the Theatre Communications Group, this periodical was founded in 1984.Subjects for American Theatre include drama and theatre. Nicole Estvanik Taylor is the Managing Editor and Jim O' Quinn is the Editor-in-Chief.

Articles from Vol. 27, No. 1, January

20 Questions
The usually reticent RICKY JAY opens up with A Rogue's Gallery--An Evening of Conversation and Performance (at Los Angeles's Geffen Playhouse through Jan. 10), which offers a glimpse into the illusionist's life and career by cracking open a cabinet...
3 New Year Wishes
HAPPY NEW YEAR! FROM THE SOUND OF IT, 2010 will continue to carry the descriptor "unusual times," and we will need to summon our most profound creativity and agility. To that end, I wish everyone a year of happy experiments, gleeful boundary-stretching...
A Quest for the Original Voice: A Renowned Voice Teacher Advocates Feeling, Not Intellect, to Activate the Creative Visionary Within
LET US CONSIDER THE WORDS "ORIGINAL VOICE" not in terms of a specific way of training but in a much broader perspective--as something which is innate, in need of protection, and that should always be encouraged to grow and thrive. Such a voice could...
Editor's Note
THIS ISSUE'S ANNUAL APPROACHES TO THEATRE TRAINING package is devoted to the rigors and rewards of vocal training for the actor. But as you read, keep an eye out for another thematic thread that runs through the special section and spills into the...
Full Spectrum Access: For Many Kids with Autism, Theatre Offers Customized Rehearsals for Real Life
A CHILD LAUGHS INSTEAD OF CRIES. HE WALKS at eight months. His first words are "Bob Barker!" He echoes words instead of answering questions. Mom and Dad have their suspicions that he might be different, but he makes eye contact and is affectionate....
Hysteria: The Wilma Theater
Jiri Zizka, DIRECTOR: Hysteria, an intellectually vigorous comedy by British playwright Terry Johnson, revolves around a historical meeting between Sigmund Freud and Salvador Dali in London in 1938. The play is brilliantly constructed as an inspection...
Musical Theatre, the Remix: The New York Musical Theatre Festival Doesn't Just Predict the Future of This Ever-Changing Form-It Helps to Create It
TWO KOREAN HIPSTERS CLAMBER OUT OF A refrigerator and execute energetic boy-band choreography to a lively chamber-pop score. Chubby teens line up to compare the size of their butts, to the accompaniment of electric guitar. A small town haggles over...
New Zealand International Arts Festival
NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL: Peter Brook makes his New Zealand debut with Eleven and Twelve. Wellington is the fourth city after Paris, London and Wroclaw to get a look at the piece, which builds on Brook's 2004 Tierno Bokar, about a Sufi...
No-Blast Zones
PHILADELPHIA AND NORFOLK, VA.: Social media like Facebook and Twitter dance on a fine line between marketing and content, reality and virtual reality. Theatre publicity departments that don't yet know the steps of that dance might take some cues from...
Pillars of Voice Work
"If you sing well," an old Italian adage goes, "you speak well." This conviction--that the development of the singing voice naturally leads to strong speaking voices--was once upon a time so well-accepted that voice training could be obtained only...
Practical Magic: Beowulf Boritt Insists on a Single Strong Concept for His Set Designs. the Rest Is Negotiable
A BOUT TWO-THIRDS OF THE WAY THROUGH MY interview with scenic designer Beowulf Boritt, I ask him if he's comfortable talking about money--about the ways that money and the business realities of making a living in theatre shape the lives of its artists...
Save Our Ship: When Your Theatre's Sinking, How Do You Best Conduct a Mayday Appeal?
Challenge There is no sense in rehashing the financial collapse of September '08 and the crippling ripple effects it has had on theatres nationwide. Some theatres find themselves on the brink of closing, and a few have already dropped their curtains....
Short + Sweet
SHORT + SWEET: Imagine you could see all this in one festival: a man recapping his three years of incarceration at Guantanamo; a treatise on female hormones; a love triangle starring Nietzsche; a scene played between two toothbrushes; a parable about...
The Body in the Voice: For Cicely Berry, Working on the Sound and Rhythm in Shakespeare Can Lead Actors to the Language within Themselves
I REMEMBER, SEVERAL YEARS AGO, HANGING UP THE PHONE after speaking with someone from Theatre for a New Audience and havingone feeling: fear. I had just agreed to participate in a Shakespeare workshop for directors with Cicely Berry, the renowned...
The Comeback Kids
SHLEMIEL THE FIRST, THE GLORIOUS KLEZMER-jazz musical about Eastern European shtetl life based on the Yiddish folktales of Isaac Bashevis Singer, was poised for a Broadway leap soon after its Lincoln Center debut in 1994. "And then the big mistake...
The Importance of Daydreaming: For Actors, Voice Training and New Discoveries in Neuroscience Can Help Bridge the Disconnect between Mind and Body
VOICE TRAINING FOR ACTORS IS PARADOXICAL: The actor must develop the voice to its utmost potential in order then to forget about it, to sacrifice it--to let it be burned through by the heat of thoughts and feelings and moods and emotions. The voice...
The Naked Voice: Free the Voice and Release the Body, Patsy Rodenburg Says, So You Can Express Yourself Fully with Truth and Authenticity
ON A CRISP NOVEMBER DAY, PATSY RODENBURG greets me in a rehearsal room at the Michael Howard Studios in Manhattan's Chelsea with a charming Third Circle attentiveness that masks an acute Second Circle energy. Well-applied technique liberates actors,...
The Real Shakespearean Tragedy: It's Been 400-Plus Years. Is It Time to Translate the Bard into Understandable English?
IT'S A THURSDAY EVENING AND YOU'VE GOTTEN home early to eat a quick dinner with your spouse before driving downtown for a night of theatre. A friend has given you tickets for King Lear. Freshly showered and nicely dressed, you slip on your coats, have...
The Santorini Experiment: How Philosophy Ended Its Ancient Quarrel with Theatre
QUESTION: Why would 10 actors from half a dozen different countries, 6 professors of philosophy from the United States, the director of Switzerland's leading research institute on neuroinformatics and a professor of Columbia University's school of...
The Truthiness Factor
ON HIS IRONY-DRENCHED COMEDY Central series "The Colbert Report," host Stephen Colbert famously coined the term "truthiness," connoting an emotional certainty a person feels "from their gut," disregarding evidence, logic or facts. The term instantly...
Tremor into Action: Catherine Fitzmaurice, an Innovator of Voice Work, Prescribes a Holistic Regimen of Freedom, Release and Transcendence
CATHERINE FITZMAURICE, FOUNDER OF FITZ-maurice Voicework, was born in India in the waning years of British rule of the subcontinent. Her grandfather had been a judge there, and her father a member of the Indian Civil Service. When she was seven her...
Under the Radar Jumps over the Moon
NEW YORK CITY: Because of the failing U.S. economy, Mark Russell thought he might have to pull back. He also thought that this year's edition of Under the Radar, which takes place Jan. 6-17 at the Public Theater and at partner venues in New York City,...
Voice Check: 10 Tips for Healthy Singing: Voice Therapists, Trainers and Performers Give Expert Advice on How to Protect and Maintain Your Singing Voice
Theatre lore is packed with borror stories about performers cracking or missing notes on stage or--even worse--losing their voices completely. Luciano Pavarotti had, near the start of his career, a disastrous concert in the Italian city of Ferrara...
Where Hamlet Leads, I Will Follow: How One Woman's Princely Performance Changed My Life
WITH LOVE AND SUPPLICATION TO J.D. SALINGER for more than nine stories, Hamlet-was to the 16-year-old me what The Catcher in the Rye was to everyone else in high school. Oh! I like the image that creates of teenage me. Literate. Possessed of gravitas...
Yours Truly
Jean Webster's 1912 epistolary novel Daddy Long Legs ends with an engagement, but the pivotal love scenes are left mostly to readers' imaginations. Likewise, John Caird and Paul Gordon's new musical adaptation of the novel--running Jan. 20-Feb. 14...
Zakes Mokae: 1934-2009
Zakes Mokae was one of the most important presences in my life. He teamed up with me at a point when I was totally without support from any direction but wanted to work in theatre. He joined me in that lunatic enterprise in the old apartheid South...